The Incline Bench Press - One Of Rich’s Favorite Exercises


When you think of chest training, you probably think of the flat bench press. Some lifters never really think beyond that. Yet the upper chest is neglected if you only do flat work. That's where the exercise we'll be looking at in this article comes in - The Incline Press - One Of Rich’s Favorite Exercises! 

The Incline Bench Press

Perhaps one of the biggest questions about this exercise is the angle. You’re doing an incline movement and that’s simple enough, but how high should you set the incline? While some lifters go as high as 45 degrees, a 30-degree angle is best. That’s because the higher you go, the more you'll target the front delts, and the less you’ll hit the upper pecs. 

Muscles Worked

This exercise is a compound exercise, so besides your upper chest, it also involves the front deltoids and triceps. Plus, the short head of the biceps is involved to a limited degree. For complete chest development, you should always include upper chest work.  Many lifters also do decline work and outer and inner chest work.


Some variations of this exercise include the Smith machine incline press, one of Rich’s favorites. There are also dumbbell incline presses, incline chest machines, and cable incline presses. You could use kettlebells or resistance bands as preferred.

How Rich Used It In His Routine

Here’s one example of Rich's chest workouts. As you can see, he favored incline work over flat bench work. This approach guaranteed he had a powerfully developed upper chest. He enjoyed upper chest work and always felt it couldn’t get big enough.

Incline Bench Press  - 5 sets - 20, 15, 12, 10, 8 reps

Rich preferred to do this on a Smith machine.

Flat Bench Press - 5 sets - 20, 15, 12, 10, 8 reps

Your weight will suffer by doing this exercise second, but it’s not about the weight, it’s about the pump.

Pec Deck - 5 sets - 20, 15, 12, 10, 8 reps

This exercise isolates the chest and helps you really get a great pump.

Cable Crossovers - 5 sets - 16 reps each set

A fly-type movement that also isolates the chest and promotes the pump. 

Don’t Forget 5% Nutrition!

We talked about the pump in the above routine example, and Rich was a big believer in training with moderate weights and higher reps for the pump. To that end, you have some great 5% pre-workout options. First, use Full As F*ck. Why? Simple - it’s all about the pump. Plus, it’s stim-free, so you can stack it with any of our other pre-workouts. For example, stack it with Kill It RTD and get ready for insane nitric oxide and water-based pumps plus 400 mg of caffeine!

Of course, building muscle is all about protein, and we have some great options. First off, there’s Shake Time, our real-food protein powder. There’s also Real Carbs + Protein, an ideal post-workout shake. To help you fully digest your shakes, we have Digestive Defender. From there, you have a wide range of great muscle-building choices. For example, there’s Turkesterone 1200 and Core Creatine Monohydrate. Let’s face it, 5% Nutrition has something for everybody!


Leave it to Rich Piana to focus on something many lifters overlook. Yet by working the incline bench press and focusing on your upper pecs first, you can hit them much harder than if you did the exercise later in your routine. Whether you test-drive Rich’s example routine above or add incline presses into your program, give this exercise a shot and see what it can do for your chest development. Don’t forget your 5% Nutrition supplements - stop by and load up today!
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